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Added value of cross-border local development

BLOG – 25/01/2023
by Carla Lostrangio (European Association for Innovation on Local Development)

Since 1990s, the Community-Led Local Development (CLLD) was applied in the European Union to foster place-based and bottom-up development. The CLLD approach, embedded in the LEADER programme, is based on the assumption that local communities are the best to know what is needed for their own territorial development. More than thirty years has passed since and what have we learnt from implementing CLLD in Europe?

This blog post summarizes the added value of the CLLD approach at the Italian-Austrian border, as emerged from a recent report commissioned by the European Commission and authored by Jean-Pierre Vercruysse.

Funding Community-Led Local Development in Europe

The CLLD targets two main objectives at European level. On one side, it aims to design policies tailored to specific territorial needs, and on the other side, it targets the involvement of local stakeholders in the decision making.

Funding both objectives is possible thanks to the use of several European funds, such as European Regional Development Fund (ERDF), the European Social Fund (ESF), the European Maritime and Fisheries Fund (EMFF) and the European Agricultural Fund for Rural Development (EAFRD).

Added value of CLLD at the Italian-Austrian border

In a recent report report commissioned by the European Commission, Jean-Pierre Vercruysse make a quantitative and qualitative analysis of the added value of the CLLD approach in the Italian-Austrian cross-border area over the period 2014-2022.

Divided only after the World War I, this cross-border area is in fact characterized by centuries of a common history and special relationship of mutual support. Regions at both sides of the border experience a significant autonomy from their respective national governments thanks to their specific territorial, historical and geographical dimensions. 

In this area, about 207 projects were funded and implemented by August 2022 as part of the Interreg IT-AU 2014-2022 programme for an approximate value of EUR 19.5 million allocated to CLLD (of which more than EUR 13.6 million from the ERDF contribution, 1.8 from the national governments and the remaining of part of beneficiaries’ contribution). 

By a qualitative point of view, the added value of cross-border CLLD in this area can be reconducted to the promotion of a territorial approach to development, based on the homogeneity of rural areas and the concept of functional areas, able to go beyond administrative borders. In addition, participation to decision making and capacity building have been key results delivered by the CLLD approach, with a focus on strengthening multi-actor partnerships (through the Local Action Groups) and boosting innovative strategy and actions. 

Success factors

The report also points out a few success factors to the delivery of the CLLD approach in this cross-border area. Above all, the historical connection from both sides of the region and a larger administrative autonomy from respective central governments that allowed further degree of flexibility. In addition, former experience in the delivery of the CLLD approach of all 10 Local Action Groups and good contacts with relevant bodies in charge of sectoral policies

Consult the report to learn more on the ouputs the report, recommendations and specific case studies.

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